Eric McCandless/ABC
March 13, 2018 at 11:00 PM EDT

For the People

type
TV Show
genre
Drama
run date
03/13/18
creator
Paul William Davies
performer
Britt Robertson, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Ben Rappaport, Hope Davis, Susannah Flood
broadcaster
ABC
seasons
1
Current Status
In Season
We gave it an A-

From the powerhouse production company that gave us attractive doctors saving lives and hooking up in Seattle, attractive crisis management professionals managing crises and performing monologues in D.C., and a bounty of other attractive people doing dramatic things in cities across the U.S. comes For the People.

The latest Shondaland venture (created by Paul William Davies) is about — you guessed it — attractive lawyers fighting for justice and, probably, hooking up in New York City. And you guys, I am here for this. Yes, our six federal public defenders and assistant U.S. attorneys all seem a bit too young and shiny and idealistic for reality, but isn’t that the fun part? The pilot merely gives us a taste as to what’s up with public defenders Sandra (Britt Robertson), Allison (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Jay (Wesam Keesh) and prosecutors Seth (Ben Rappaport), Leonard (Regé-Jean Page), and Kate (Susannah Flood), but even just their broad-strokes characters, paired with the snazzy aesthetics and the format that looks at cases from both sides, are enough for me to bite.

We meet our six young upstarts as they are sworn in as the newest batch of lawyers in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York. As Chief Judge Byrne (Vondie Curtis-Hall) informs them (and us), this court is the oldest, most prestigious trial court in the country. Cases from the Titanic disaster were heard here. Aaron Burr sang practiced law here. Judge Byrne tells them (us) that the cases are hard and the stakes are high. They aren’t messing around here, and not everyone is worthy. This is the Mother Court, y’all.

And after that not-intimidating-at-all lecture, our lawyers are off to meet their bosses and get to lawyer-ing. Since the episode — and future episodes, one would assume — pairs off our main cast on three separate cases, let’s tackle the recap that way.

Leonard Knox v. Sandra Bell, terrorism

Sandra is a Sacramento girl staying with her law school BFF and fellow public defender Allison in Allison’s parents’ giant apartment on the Upper East Side. Sandra and Allison are a more sentimental version of Shondaland’s most famous BFFs, Meredith and Cristina — they vent in bed together, they hold hands, they support each other no matter what. We like them, a lot.

Leonard is your classic super-hot, super-dick lawyer-type. He works very hard to seem heartless, but a few moments at the end of the episode let on that there is more to this guy. A bad boy who deep down is a softy? Yes, please and thank you.

Leonard and Sandra are the lead prosecutor and defender for United States v. Mohamed Fayed. The young guy is being charged with attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction on government property — in layman’s terms, he was caught trying to blow up the head of the Statue of Liberty. Sandra and Leonard are an even match-up. They may be of different temperaments, but they are both extremely good, extremely tenacious lawyers.

Over at the U.S. district attorney office, Leonard discovers that friendly Seth has this juicy terrorism case. Leonard wants it. Leonard is a guy who gets what he wants. He presents his case to his boss, Roger Gunn (Ben Shenkman), a no-nonsense “just win” type of guy: Leonard deserves this case because, well, he is a better lawyer than Seth, who worked at a mid-tier law firm. Sweet Seth sees this as an invitation to show he has integrity. He tells Roger that yes, this case is hard, but at least Seth is humble enough to know that it will be hard and that will make him fight harder to win. Seth doesn’t realize Roger has no time for integrity or humility — Roger hands the case over to Leonard. (Recap continues on page 2)

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